Money/ (End Post!)
While the above is true, it does take a lot of money to both sign up and train for Iron Distance racing (particular when training to be competitive), this is only part of the equation. While some people go overboard on the money aspect ($10,000+ for a bike), there is no escaping the financial commitment. Just registering for the qualifying race and Kona will cost $1500+. Furthermore outside of the big costs, the small costs add up quickly; I have spent well over $400 on energy gels this season! Once you have come to grips with the financial commitment, the real fun begins.
Everyone is different, and some can train 10-12 hours a week and make it to the big show, however, this seems to be the exception. For some interesting insight into “Iron Minimalist Training” check out the following blog post: (My) Secret sauce to a Sub 9hr Hawaii Ironman: Unconventional wisdom. While “minimalist training” may be the route for some, I have found that I need more balance between high-volume and minimalist training. I like to focus on a relatively high volume while also utilizing some of the principals of minimalist training (i.e. threshold sessions on an indoor trainer). I find that if I become a volume junky and push 25+ hours I not only become injured but also burned out. Conversely, if I become a staunch minimalist I focus too much on speed and my achilles tendon starts talking to me. Like most things in life I have found the truth to effective training lies somewhere in the middle. Endurance Corner has a great guide on qualifying for Kona, be sure to check it out here: http://www.endurancecorner.com/How_To_Qualify/AC/realist
For me the “middle ground” is training up to a volume of 21-hours per week with an average training volume of approx. 15 hours per week. My “expedition” to qualify for the Hawaii Ironman will begin this coming November and end in October of 2016 at the Louisville Ironman. My next post will be on “How I Plan On Qualifying For Kona” and will give more of a nuts and bolts look into my training program.